One-year-old boy dies inside hot car after 'emotionless' foster mom forgets to drop him at daycare and goes to work in North Carolina
At around 10 am on August 29, 42-year-old Dawn Aberson-Vanden Broecke left the child in his safety seat in the back of her vehicle before reporting to her job. She was supposed to drop him off at daycare on her way to work.
A North Carolina woman has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after she left her one-year-old foster child in a hot car for several hours, causing his death. At around 10 am on August 29, 42-year-old Dawn Aberson-Vanden Broecke left the child in his safety seat in the back of her vehicle before reporting to her job. She was supposed to drop him off at daycare on her way to work, People reports.
Broecke got off work at around 5 pm and return to her vehicle intending to go pick up the boy from daycare, but shortly after she realized she had left him in the car. She immediately pulled into a Lowe's store parking lot to check on him, according to her arrest warrant. The foster mum called 911 and said the child was unresponsive. She then told responding officers that she “knew that he looked bad, possibly deceased" when she checked on him.
The dispatcher, who routed the call to Pineville police from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, is heard in an audio clip saying "female caller left her child in a car all day, now stating her child is dead." According to the warrant, Broecke was "emotionless" as responding authorities attempted to revive the child.
“I can imagine she was in shock," Lt. Corey Copley of the Pineville Police told People. "She was clearly upset.” While describing the incident as a "very unfortunate death", Copley said they foster mom “was cooperative with us, and has been the entire time."
The Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the child's cause of death as hyperthermia due to environmental exposure. That said, Broecke turned herself in for booking at the Mecklenburg County jail on September 3.
“Small children and infants are more sensitive to heat, and this sensitivity causes their body temperature to increase three to five times faster than adults,” Pineville police wrote in an alert posted on their website. “This, combined with temperature increases that occur inside a car when the temperature outside is as low as 70 degrees, can cause dangerous conditions for children in minutes.”
“Studies show that of the child deaths in cars, more than a third of these were the result of a child accidentally left in a closed, parked vehicle by parents or caregivers, and another third were trapped while playing unattended in a vehicle,” the alert added. “Sadly, one in five children who died was intentionally left in the vehicle by an adult who ran a quick errand.”
In 2019 alone, a staggering 40 children have died in hot cars, according to child safety organization Kids and Cars.